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CardiAQ hauls in $37.3M to advance heart valve

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California's CardiAQ Valve Technologies is developing a replacement mitral valve, and the company snagged a $37.3 million Series B to fund the process.

OrbiMed led the latest round, joined by Versant Ventures and Advent Life Sciences. CardiAQ says the cash infusion will keep the company going through a feasibility study and CE mark clinical trial for its device.

CardiAQ's tech can treat leakage in the heart's mitral valve through transcatheter implantation, avoiding open-heart surgery, much like devices in the booming TAVI market.

Developing the device was no easy process, CEO Rob Michiels said, as dealing with the mitral valve presents a host of issues not involved in aortic treatment.

"The dynamic nature of the mitral anatomy, combined with the challenges of percutaneous access, make true Transcatheter Mitral Valve Implantation one of the most technically demanding device development endeavors of my career," Michiels said in a statement. "And while it has taken more than three years to get to this point, we are gratified that with the recently performed first-in-human case, we now have true proof of concept."

CardiAQ says there's a significant unmet need in mitral valve replacement, but if and when it gets its product on the market, it'll have to contend with other players there, not to mention Edwards Lifesciences' ($EW) valve hegemony. Edwards recently launched its mitral valve in China, and smaller outfits like Cardiosolutions, Mitralign and HighLife SAS have pulled in VC dollars to fund development of their similar devices.

- here's the announcement

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